Contemplative photography - a black bird example

A black bird in a golf cart window faces into the sun as it rises over Tampa Bay. 2007. What a gem. Glad I found this in my archive today. I was on MacDill Air Force Base to photograph an Army golf tournament in 2007. I showed up early and the sun was still rising. The light was low and warm. A long row of golf carts lined up waiting for the golfers to arrive. The black bird was on the first cart, and I stood behind the last cart and shot through the tunnel of their open windows.

This was a nice moment of simply being aware of the light and the bird and forgetting about the tension rising in my nerves as I was preparing to shoot high-ranking military officers in my first golf tournament. I call this contemplative photography. Slowing down. Being mindful. Encountering a moment that strikes you, and then enduring with that moment.

Andy Karr and Michael Wood present their own Eastern take on contemplative photography here. However you approach contemplative photography, I think the value is in enduring with a moment, and letting the moment compel you to see and listen in ways that may be contrary to the intentions you brought to the situation.

I study philosophy and social theory at the University of South Florida. I am also a photographer, map lover and sometimes poet.